Petalifera petalifera from Turkey

October 16, 2003
From: Baki Yokeş

Dear Bill,
I have a species that I have kept it in my aquarium for 4 months. It arrived with some Caulerpa fronds which I had collected from Antalya [Turkey]. It looks like Dolabrifera dolabrifera. In the beginning it was colourless, but as it grazed on the walls of the aquarium it got browner. What is your suggestion? If my ID is correct do you know any records of Dolabrifera dolabrifera from the Mediterranean? A new lessepsian migrant perhaps??

Thank you in advance
Best wishes

Yokeş, B. , 2003 (Oct 16) Petalifera petalifera from Turkey. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Baki,
I am pretty sure this is a colour form of Petalifera petalifera. The problem with many of these aplysiids is that they have been studied on the whole as preserved museum specimens with little note being taken of the living animals. We are still very much in the infancy of studying them as living animals. As you have seen in your aquarium, it seems some species are capable of changing their colour either with age or in response to the colour of the algae they are feeding on. In fact Ortea & Martínez (1991) report this for P. petalifera rom the Canary Ids. This species, if it is indeed one species has a wide distribution around the world.

In the close-up photo at the bottom left, you can see how the parapodia are reduced to a pair of small rounded flaps to form a cover over the reduced shell and mantle cavity

• Ortea, J.A. & Martínez, E. (1991) El Orden Anaspidea (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia) en las Islas Canarias. Rev. Acad. Canar. Cienc.,. 3(4): 87-107.

Best wishes
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2003 (Oct 16). Comment on Petalifera petalifera from Turkey by Baki Yokeş . [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

  1. Small Sea Hares from the Canary Islands
    From: Alejandro Escanez Perez, April 24, 2008
  2. Petalifera petalifera from Tunisia
    From: Jeanne Zaouali, August 23, 2006
  3. Petalifera petalifera from Croatia
    From: Andrej Jaklin, May 12, 2005

Show factsheet and all related messages